I am just going to use my little platform here to rant for a few seconds. I just completed the most painful freelance project I’ve ever worked on. I followed the same process I always do. There was only one difference, my client didn’t like to use a phone. We have so many communications options these days. SMS Email. IM. Therefore, increasingly the phone call is too viewed as an intrusive form of communications for many folks.
“I literally never use the phone,” Jonathan Adler, the interior designer, told me. (Alas, by phone, but it had to be.) “Sometimes I call my mother on the way to work because she’ll be happy to chitty chat. But I just can’t think of anyone else who’d want to talk to me.” Then again, he doesn’t want to be called, either. “I’ve learned not to press ‘ignore’ on my cellphone because then people know that you’re there.”
“I remember when I was growing up, the rule was, ‘Don’t call anyone after 10 p.m.,'” Mr. Adler said. “Now the rule is, ‘Don’t call anyone. Ever.'”
I have never been a huge fan of phone calls. But I just finished a project with a client I only spoke to once on the phone. Close to a $3,000 project. She would just never return a phone call. She was too darn busy. Now again, email and text messaging are wonderful communications tools. Don’t get me wrong. But somethings a good old phone call can be more effective and even faster way to communicate.
Talk about the ultimate in recycling, this is the third straight year for this letter. I guess I’ll keep reusing it until people start to “get it”. Most of us independent business owners have joined some type of organization, to help promote indie businesses. There are neighborhood groups, special improvement districts, and now independent business alliances. They are all for the betterment of our communities and the quality of our lives. Please tell people to support and buy local. We cab be the change.
I’ve been asked to repeat last year’s Holiday Season Letter – So in that spirit, I will oblige. I must also add an additional sentence or two- The “local economy” has not gotten better…. actually it has worsened. When I say local, I mean the neighborhoods where most of us live. We see more vacant storefronts and less people out shopping. The internet has taken its toll! Like the Film Oscars, where each year, they roll images of important people who have passed…. we too, in our neighborhoods continue to watch stores that have been around for 10, 20, and even over 100 years die off and close. Please shop locally and support your independent businesses!
I hope this message finds you and your family in good health. We all cannot avoid the constant barrage of the negative news about the economy. It’s in the newspapers, magazines and radio. Its reality – we’ve been in a full-blown recession for over a year. Sadly, most of the retail doom and gloom has been focused on the Big Box retailers. Their numbers are down, but those pale in comparison to the hurt this down economy has put on small independent stores. I’ve talked to many businesses across the board and nearly all are experiencing a very serious downturn thus far this holiday season. In some cases, we’re talking 40+ percent decreases in sales from last year (which, by the way, for most was a down year from the previous year, 2006. For these independent stores, the holiday season represents 25% of their annual sales – the holiday season is a “make it or break it” scenario. Compound this with increasing cost of goods, skyrocketing utility rates, rent hikes, taxes and well…. you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the negative consequences. So why am I sending this email? It is more than a gentle, subliminal reminder…. It’s a plea! SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL INDEPENDENT RETAILER THIS HOLIDAY SEASON. I fear many will not survive the winter. We talk about where we live and why we choose certain neighborhoods. We talk about what we value and sometimes we don’t put a price on what it means to us. What about customer service? What about product knowledge? I could go on.
Remember that it is many of your local merchants who donate to or sponsor events with organizations that you are familiar with. Studies show a large percentage of dollars stay in a community when you BUY LOCAL vs. leaving the state with an online or big box purchase. Sadly, if a local store closes, it not only becomes an empty storefront (in this economy, they’re not lining up to rent spaces) but the trickle down from this loss affects many – the local accountant, lawyer, insurance broker and printer to name a few. So you really know many who are or would be affected by the closing of a local “Mom and Pop”. So, PLEASE during this holiday season…. try to spread the “Good Gospel”…. support your local bookstore, record shop, boutique, hardware store, coffee shop, and toy store. Shop at the galleries and support local artists. Go out and support the small music clubs that hire local musicians. Eat at independent restaurants. Put the word out on the street. Forward this email. Tell your neighbors, friends and coworkers. Teach your kids about the importance of supporting local businesses. It’s all about education and awareness. Buy multiple gift certificates in small amounts to give away this holiday season….
Be The Change – Think Globally…. Shop Locally